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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Port Metro Vancouver, Truckers Reach Deal to End Strike

By Mark Edward Nero

Port Metro Vancouver and the hundreds of drayage truck drivers that haul goods to and from the port reached a deal on March 26 to end a strike launched March 10 by members of the Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association.

The two sides, with the aid of a federal negotiator, have agreed to accept a revised version of a 14-point plan by the port that had been previously rejected by the truck drivers.

“We are pleased an agreement has been reached for moving forward with the 14-point action plan,” Port Metro Vancouver President & CEO Robin Silvester said in a statement. “The impacts of this ongoing dispute have been significant for Canadian families, businesses and our international customers.”

More that 1,000 non-union truckers also participated in the strike. They are represented by the non-profit United Truckers Association of British Columbia, which began a work stoppage and set up a blockade at Port Metro Vancouver on Feb. 26 in protest of long wait times at port terminals.

Earlier this month, Unifor had stated that the joint action plan, which includes such broadly worded provisions as assessing wage and fuel surcharge rates by mid-2015 and restructuring the trucking licensing system and the additional rolling out of GPS technology for trucks, did meet truckers’ concerns.

However, after rounds of negotiations, the sides came to an agreement, the details of which weren’t immediately available. The union previously said it wanted a wage increase and for fees for wait times to kick in after only one hour, rather than two, and for the fees to increase over time.

The agreement was reached about a week after the port had threatened to begin the process of revoking the licenses to operate at the port of striking truckers if they didn’t return to the job.

An estimated 90 percent of truck traffic was halted during the first several days of the strike, according to the port, although that number eventually dropped to about 60 percent. The economic impact of truckers walking off the job, Silvester said, was about $885 million per week.

“We anticipate it will take some time for our backlogs to clear before the port can return to normal operations,” Silvester said.

Port of Tacoma Schedules Annual Breakfast

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Tacoma has scheduled its annual breakfast for April 9. The two-hour event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, 1500 Broadway in Tacoma.

This year’s theme is “Charging into the competitive landscape,” and attendees will have a chance to hear how change in the international container industry is forcing ports and shippers to think and act differently.

Port CEO John Wolfe will discuss how the port is addressing the increasingly competitive environment, and keynote speaker Bill Mongelluzzo, a senior editor with the Journal of Commerce, is expected to examine the new paradigm emerging in the big-ship era and provide an outlook for US West Coast ports.

Also, the port will honor its annual Summit Award winners. The Summit Awards recognize port customers and tenants for outstanding contributions to port business and our community in three categories:
  • Business Magnet recognizes business development efforts or investments that led to an increase in business volume or new business opportunities for the port, and had a positive economic impact for Pierce County citizens.
  • Environmental Stewardship recognizes a project, program or initiative that promoted sustainability in Pierce County and honors biodiversity and the interconnected nature of industry, people, wildlife and natural systems.
  • Livable Community recognizes a project, program or initiative that made a positive contribution to Pierce County through social responsibility. Criteria include philanthropy and charitable giving, community service and employee volunteering, community engagement and outreach and employee development.

This year’s Summit Award nominees include Delong Company, Emerald Home Furnishings, International Paper, Friends of Julia's Gulch, PCC Logistics, Pierce County Terminal/Evergreen Line, Summit Realty Group, TPT US Limited and Transportation Club of Tacoma.
Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, if still available. The price includes breakfast and parking. Seats can be reserved online until April 2 at www.portoftacoma.com/summits.

Study: Derailment Risk Low at Vancouver USA Rail Entrance

By Mark Edward Nero

There’s a very low potential for derailment of trains as they enter the Port of Vancouver USA, an extensive analysis of the port’s rail infrastructure by rail safety organization has determined.

The study, commissioned by the port and completed by TÜV Rheinland Rail Sciences, evaluated the derailment risk on about 3,000 feet of rail track exiting the BNSF Railway mainline and entering the port.

The section of the port’s West Vancouver Freight Access project is part of a new rail entrance to the port that, when complete in 2015, is expected to reduce congestion on the regional rail system by as much as 40 percent. The track, with about half its length running parallel to the BNSF Railway mainline, also flanks the waterfront redevelopment project proposed by a local developer.

The study’s purpose was two-fold. First, the port wanted a neutral, third-party safety evaluation of track that will serve as a significant portion of the port’s main rail entrance beginning in 2015. Second, the port asked TÜV Rheinland to offer recommendations on additional steps that could be taken to make that section of track even safer.

In a March 25 oral report of the port’s commission, TÜV Rheinland Rail Services Chief Operating Officer Sebastian Oertel summarized their findings related to the port’s rail project as “above and beyond what we see in the industry.”

The firm ran multiple simulations using the tracks’ geometry data, operating speeds and train data for three different types of trains: a grain train, an oil train and a potash train. Based on in-train force and vehicle dynamics analyses, the study found that the “proposed operation and track configuration is well within industry safety standards” with “a low risk of derailment.”

The TÜV Rheinland Rail Services study is available at http://www.portvanusa.com/assets/Connection-Track-Train-Operations-Study.pdf.

Plans are also underway to conduct a similar assessment of the remainder of the port’s West Vancouver Freight Access project.

New POLB Cold Storage Facility Breaks Ground

Vernon, Calif.-based Baker Cold Storage and Colton, California-based Lineage Logistics have teamed up to build a brand new 250,000 square foot cold storage facility within the Port District in Long Beach.

The building broke ground in a special onsite ceremony at 11:30 am on March 19, and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015. The facility is expected to feature a freezer, cooler and refrigerated cross-dock for truck, container and rail service.

Baker purchased the 12.6-acre property from Eagle Rock Aggregates and Partners in 2012. When built, it’s expected to be among the largest near-port facility of its kind in Southern California.

The project is valued at about $75 million.

The site, which was owned for more than 75 years by J.H. Baxter and used for treating wood products with preservatives and wood treatment chemicals, is contaminated by residue from the wood preservative operations and sat empty for over a decade due to the cost and effort required to remediate. A mitigation plan to clean up the brownfield site is expected to make it usable for the first time in decades.

“We are excited to take a piece of previously unviable prime real estate in the Port District and be able to develop it,” Baker Cold Storage President Jim Andreoli said.

“The Port of Long Beach is one of the busiest seaports in the US,” Lineage Logistics CEO Bill Hendricksen said. “Each year, more than six million 20-foot container units come through the port, along with 75 million metric tons of cargo, much of which requires cold storage. We are honored to provide the Port of Long Beach with private infra-structure to help fulfill their billion dollar commitment to 21st century facilities and innovative environmental programs.”

The new 250,000 sq. ft. facility is planned to include storage for 54 million pounds of foodstuffs and a cross dock capable of trans-loading two million pounds of product per day.

“There are currently no facilities of this design, size and capability in the Long Beach Port District or anywhere else in California for that matter,” Mitch Ebright, Vice President of Baker Cold Storage, said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Business for London Gateway's Giant Cranes

By Peter Marsh

The maritime industry in London is closely following the development of the container port of DP World London Gateway, and its strategy to attract traffic from Britain's biggest port Felixstowe, only 50 miles away. London Gateway is the first new port in the western hemisphere designed to meet the needs of ultra-large container vessels (ULCV's). Everything about the port's layout is super-sized, from the depth of water to the height of the cranes. The arrival in 2013 of the five huge ZPMC cranes from Shanghai, weighing in at 2,000 tons each, was a landmark event that was given full coverage by the city's media.

At a height of 138 meters (453 feet), they are claimed to be the "world's largest quay cranes," and would tower over the Super-Post Panamax cranes in Tacoma, Seattle and Vancouver BC that stand around 270 feet high. They are the first in the UK to be able to lift four containers at once – designed to serve the next generation of ULCV's – potentially bigger than the Maersk triple E's that are more than 400 meters long and carry 18,000 TEUs stacked up to 23 boxes wide. "The size of the cranes future-proofs the port, allowing London Gateway to handle the next generation of ultra large container ships," stated Tim Halhead, the port's operations director.

These huge ships are too big for any port in North America, so are confined to the Asia-Europe run, and they are creating a ripple effect in the UK, Netherlands and Germany to provide ever-bigger port infrastructure. This includes deeper channels, longer berths, larger container yards and more machinery, with a total cost more than $13 billion according to one analyst. DP World (Dubai Ports) inherited the London Gateway site when it took over P&O Ports in 2005, and has invested more than $2 billion to date.

The cranes are just the tip of the iceberg for London Gateway – part of the long-term plan to create a 21st century terminal on the former Shell Haven oil refinery 25 miles from central London. The project began with the dredging of 100 km of estuary in 2010, when 150 WWII bombs were recovered and more than a dozen shipwrecks surveyed.

The entire dock area was reclaimed from the sea using dredge spoils, then the cranes were installed on a new quay wall 2.7 kilometers in length, with foundations that are 150 feet deep. There are also 40 fully-automated stacking cranes, creating Britain's first fully-automated container-stacking terminal.  However, Felixstowe – owned by Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa – has not been idle. It added a $500 million extension in 2011, giving it three berths for ULCVs and raising capacity to about 4.5 million TEU. The port handled more than 40 percent of UK container traffic last year, including the biggest Triple-E Maersk ships.

The first scheduled service to switch to London Gateway's single operating berth was the MOL Caledon early in November.Caledon is a 58,000-ton container carrier that carries fruit and wine from South Africa, and had previously unloaded in the small port of Tilbury, a few miles upstream. The first shot in the duel with Felixstowe came around Christmas, when a storm in the North Sea forced it to briefly close to shipping. Two feeder ships and Maersk's 5,500-TEU Nedlloyd Drake, followed by the 8,452-TEU Maersk Seville were diverted to London Gateway, which is protected from rough weather in the North Sea.


In the New Year, another South African service, run by MSC, ordered the MSC Rita to London Gateway. It appears that shipping lines stand to benefit from the fierce competition between these two major ports only 50 miles apart.

Vigor Christens Olympic-Class Ferry

By Mark Edward Nero

State elected, transportation and manufacturing leaders were on hand March 20 for the christening of Washington State’s first 144-car Olympic Class ferry, the M/V Tokitae, at Vigor Industrial’s shipyard in Seattle.

Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson served as the ship’s sponsor and broke a bottle to christen the new ferry before a crowd of more than 200.

“This is more than just a ferry,” Vigor Industrial CEO Frank Foti said at the christening. “The vessel is a vital economic, social and transportation link to the ferry communities across Puget Sound.”

The M/V Tokitae is the first of three 144-car ferries planned to replace the state’s aging Evergreen State-class 87-car ferries, all of which are about 60 years old. The second 144-car ferry, the M/V Samish, is under construction now at Vigor Industrial.

Following sea trials and crew training, the M/V Tokitae is expected to enter service on the Mukilteo-Clinton route in June. The M/V Samish is expected to serve the San Juan Islands beginning early 2015.
Washington lawmakers also approved funding for a third 144-car ferry during the recently completed legislative session. The still unnamed third ferry is expected to be built by Vigor, and likely serve the Seattle-Bremerton route.

“These vessels we’re putting in (service), one right after the other, will make sure that our reliability for our customers is there,” Peterson said before christening the vessel. She added that the new boats will also save costs in the long run compared to keeping old vessels in service.

Rep. Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee, said that legislators committed to build new ferries both to replace the state’s aging ferry fleet and to build those vessels in Washington.
“Every shipbuilding community in the state is now competitive and doing work,” Clibborn said.

According to Vigor Fab, the Vigor subsidiary building the ferries, construction of the M/V Tokitae provided 500 jobs at Vigor and its subcontractors, which included Nichols Brothers on Whidbey Island, Jesse Engineering in Tacoma and Eltech Electric and Performance Contracting Group in Seattle. Those 500 jobs comprise about one million hours of work on the M/V Tokitae, Vigor Fab Senior Vice President Joe Corvelli said.

The M/V Tokitae is 362.5 feet long, has a beam of 83 feet and a draft of 24.5 feet. Its capacity is 1,500 passengers and 144 vehicles.

2014 Green Gateway Award Winners Honored

By Mark Edward Nero

Maersk Line, COSCO Container Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line have been announced as the 2014 winners of the Port of Seattle’s annual Green Gateway Partners Awards.

The awards, now in their fourth year, recognize the environmental achievements of the port’s cruise and containership operators. This year’s winners were honored March 19.

“These awards show that maritime businesses are doing the right thing for the environment every day,” Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani said in a prepared statement. “Their efforts have removed hundreds of tons of pollutants from Puget Sound air.”

The Green Gateway Partners Awards have a minimum requirement of participation in the port’s At-Berth Clean Fuels program or use of shore power. These and other environmental activities are assigned point values and depending on the number of points earned, Green Gateway Partners can achieve one of three recognition levels – gold, silver or bronze.

The awards and scoring system are conducted by analysts from Cascadia Consulting Group and Glosten Associates.

For the second year in a row, Holland America Line earned the port’s highest level award, platinum, for use of low-sulfur fuels beyond the required levels, zero discharge of ballast water in Puget Sound, and Marine Sanitation Devices contributed to its high scores in the Air & Energy and Wastewater categories.

Earning gold was Princess Cruises for its use of low-sulfur fuels beyond the required levels, zero discharge of ballast water in Puget Sound, advanced wastewater treatment systems and marine sanitation devices.

Earning silver for their use of low sulfur fuels were Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, COSCO Container Lines and Maersk Line.

Interim POLA Director Won’t Seek Job Permanently

By Mark Edward Nero

Interim Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gary Lee Moore will not apply for the permanent position, and plans to return to his duties as Los Angeles City Engineer after a permanent executive director is selected and in place, he said March 21.

“It has been a privilege to lead the Harbor Department,” Moore said. “With my intentions clear, I hope this encourages all outstanding candidates to apply for the position.”

Moore was tapped to become the port’s interim director by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti in October 2013 after then-Executive Director Geraldine Knatz announced her retirement. Knatz had been appointed to the executive director job in 2006 by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Knatz, who began her maritime career as an environmental scientist at the Port of Los Angeles in 1977, was managing director of the neighboring Port of Long Beach from 1999 to 2005 before returning to the Port of LA.

Before being named interim port director, Moore has been City Engineer for the City of Los Angeles for a decade.

“I’m grateful for Gary’s leadership,” Garcetti said in a prepared statement regarding Moore’s announcement. “His professionalism and impeccable integrity has served the port well.”

In addition to his oversight of key port capital projects over the past four months, Moore helped shape the port’s upcoming $938 million fiscal budget.

Nominations and submittals from interested candidates for the port executive director position are still being accepted and should be sent to heather@ralphandersen.com by Mon., April 14, 2014.
A full description of the position and qualifications is available at http://www.portoflosangeles.org/pdf/Recruitment_Brochure-Executive_Director_03-06-14.pdf.

Port of Oakland Seeks Candidates for 2 Management Positions

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland is seeking candidates to fill the positions of Director of Communications and Director of Human Resources.

The port’s communications leader plans, directs and executes the port’s external and internal communications strategy, media relations and public information programs. The job consists of, among other things, providing strategic and tactical communications advice and consultation to the Board of Directors, Executive Director and executive management team.

The Communication director is also expected to develop and execute an internal communications strategy.

Candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Mass Communications, or related field, plus seven years of professional experience in corporate communications and/or public information in a large complex organization, including at least two years with management responsibility for leading and managing staff.

The port’s Director of HR position provides vision and leadership in the development of all aspects of human resources. Candidates are expected to have strategic knowledge of current human resources best practices and trends, as well as an ability to define management issues, analyze problems and produce solutions.

Minimum requirements include an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university plus five years of increasingly responsible human resources management work experience. The port says its ideal candidate would possess 7-10 years of senior human resources experience in a complex civil service and unionized environment, with a Master’s degree being preferred.

Parties interested in either position can submit a letter of interest and resume to Ms. Brett Byers at brett@thehawkinscompany.com, or Mr. Bill Hawkins at bill@thehawkinscompany.com. Materials can also be mailed to: The Hawkins Company, 11040 Bollinger Road, Suite E-216, San Ramon, CA 94582.

For additional information or questions, contact Brett Byers at (323) 403-8279 or Bill Hawkins at (310) 348-8800. A brochure is available at www.thehawkinscompany.com.